Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Sid's Guide to Kollywood

Man, I love a good challenge! Yesterday I got an email from "Indian Parrot," aka Sid, deriding the "pretty boys of the North" in favor of the darker heroes of Tamil (hehe!) and chastising me for neglecting the films of Southern India. He also offered to suggest some "starter" films for Tamil cinema, an invitation I gladly accepted. I hadn't quite expected a Masters' Thesis but hey, you can't knock the guy for being thorough. Rather than horde all this newfound knowledge for myself, I decided to share with my five dedicated readers. ;0) Enjoy! [Velu, I expect you to offer a follow-up piece!]

I would have to give some warnings about Tamil movies, even though it is similar to Bollywood it has some subtle differences. The movies are mostly made in South Indian locales instead of the Swiss/Aussie/Canada locations of Hindi movies. Ok I take that back, maybe not some of the songs. And the story more often tend to include South Indian traditional stuff which is different from the Hindi Bollywood movies.

OK here we go.

Mani Ratnam - Director
He is the director of Dil Se. He originally makes Tamil film and remakes in Hindi. He gets a lots of awards both inside and outside India. His movies:
--Roja: It is movie from '91 taken in Kashmir, a love story affected by militants. It is a very good watch. Kashmir is portrayed beautifully.
--Iruvar: This is a biography of two top politicians in the South. This is also the first movie of Aishwary Rai. This movie is set in '50s & '60s so it would show yesteryear glory.
--Alaipayuthey: This was remade in Hindi as Saathiyen.
--Bombay: This is based on a Hindu Muslim love story in the backdrop of one of the communal riots that happened in India in the 90s.
--Kannathil Muthamittal: This is about adoption. Have a box of kleenex ready. Even if you dont like drama you have to watch this just for Mani Ratnam.
--Nayagan a good north/south relations movie, inspired by The Godfather.
Tamil movie starts with Rajni. He is the biggest star in India and highest paid next only to Jackie Chan in Asia. (Now our dear Northies would never want to admit that, here is a link to prove it). He has a very huge fan base in the South and well known for his style. The best are his introduction scenes in his movies. The whole theater goes crazy watching it. He even tried acting in a low budget Hollywood movie called Bloodstone.
--Padayyappa: This is a good movie. I recommend watching it. The highlights are him and the lead actress having a power struggle. He chooses a traditional girl over this "It" girl and she tries to put him down every chance she gets.

Kamal Hasan - Actor
Now this is the actor you saw in that video from 70s. Yes he still acts and he is regarded as one of the best actors, with a lot of awards under his belt.
--Anbe Sivam (must see): He gets disfigured due to an accident and a fellow traveller hates him for his face, I don't want to kill the suspense, but this is a very entertaining movie.
-- Indian: This is a very good movie directed by Shankar a top Tamil director. All of Shankar's movie are recommended. Though it would have some political messages. it would be very entertaining but mostly based on corruption in India.

--Kandukondean Kandukondean: Already saw this.
--Minsara Kanavu : this has Kajol, Prabu Deva, Arvind Swamy. Very nice movie, A must watch for the songs, dance and light entertainment.

Have fun with these, I will give you more once you get a feel for Tamil films. Meanwhile if you have any questions/doubts please feel free to ask me.


Indian Parrot said...

guess i got a little over enthusiastic

t-HYPE said...

It's totally cool!

I like it when people are thorough. It looks like something I would write, that's why I didn't mind posting it.

michael said...

good movie choice, but i'd also call some movies like muthu of rajini as typical south indian. and of course any movie of cheran (autograph) and and and... south indian cinema is such a pleasure

buts its not easy to stay up to date both northern and southern indian cinema.

the biggest problem is: to learn to know new actors: you dont know anyone in your first movies :)

Maja said...

This is great, I'll have to look into some South Indian films too. I really liked Yuva (it seems the Tamil version of Yuva is very good too) and I'm looking forward to Mani Ratnam's Guru as well.